Bell's Brewery

Best Brown Ale

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category-iconBeer Reviews

Bell's Best Brown Ale Aims to Please

October 08, 2018

By Tom Thornton, October 08, 2018

For today’s beer aficionados, the humble brown ale is decidedly not on trend. While early craft beer stalwarts like Newcastle and Brooklyn Brown once served as a gateway for macro lager drinkers, you’re now more likely to see a dozen IPAs at a bar than a single brown ale tap. That’s a shame. During fall tailgating season, a malty brown ale such as Bell’s Best Brown Ale is both an excellent companion for cool temperatures and a versatile pairing partner.


The ale’s pale brown color, which isn’t as intense as others in this category, speaks to Bell’s light-handed approach. There’s a slight haze and a moderate head that lingers around the collar, with notably fast-rising carbonation. As with the brewery’s other offerings, the label design—an owl perched in a copper-hued forest—looks quite retro when compared to other brands.


If you were blindfolded, you’d probably mistake the citrus, pepper and clove aromas of Best Brown for those of a hefeweizen. As it warms up, some cinnamon, biscuit malt and baking spices reveal the ale’s true identity. There’s also a notable sweetness on the nose.

It’s tough to dislike, and it’s good enough to session without losing interest.”


There’s a surprising amount of orange flavor from the ale’s higher-than-expected hop backbone. It’s still a malt-dominant brew, with generous toffee, caramel and toast flavors all playing nicely with the spice and fruit accents. This is a soft-bodied beer, and while the finish isn’t lengthy, it is quite pleasant. The 5.8% ABV is mild by design, and isn’t often detectable.


Bell’s Best Brown is a light, sweet brown ale that aims to please a wide audience. It’s tough to dislike, and while it’s not as fruit-forward as some other brown ales, it’s good enough to session without losing interest. The complex flavors within a relatively constrained style make this a perfect match for fall grilling. Pairing this with a bratwurst on a pretzel bun would be an absolute winner, and nuttier cheeses like aged Gouda or Gruyère would also make for ideal companions.  

ZX Ventures, a division within AB InBev, is an investor in October
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